The last few months have felt like much of the economy is on hold. However, whether your business has been impacted by COVID-19 or not we are now entering a period of coming to life once again. This makes it a great time to re-examine the way that your warehouse is organised. Perhaps you experienced a slow down that made space for time to think – or maybe your warehouse came under increased pressure in new ways. Whatever recent months have held for you if you want to organise your warehouse better then there are some very simple ways to do this.
- Review the floor plan. It sounds simple but it could be the biggest change that you make. Look closely at areas such as receiving, shipping, storage and the space set aside for office functions. Does your current layout maximise the space you have available, enable flexible storage and minimise the steps involved in key processes?
- Introduce clear signs. Labelling is something that comes in useful in many areas of life and that includes in your warehouse. It’s not just about labelling inventory but also areas of the warehouse so that it’s clear to everyone what happens where.
- Maximise the vertical space. If you simply don’t have enough room in your warehouse right now then look up. Racks, shelves and bins can make areas such as inventory or manufacturing assembly much more efficient and effective.
- Evaluate the way you’re organising your inventory. For example, are your fastest moving items the easiest to access or are they on the other side of the warehouse, increasing the time it takes to pick and pack? An ABC analysis can be helpful here – the As (most profitable items, 20% of total stock) are positioned closest to the packing area followed by the Bs (second best, 30% of total stock) and furthest away the Cs (less important, 50% of total stock).
- Improving your picking processes. There are a number of different ways you can do this, including using the ABC approach described above or investing in picking technology, such as Pick to Light for optimum picking efficiency.
- Review your approach to receiving. Goods coming in are as important as those going out and it’s important that your warehouse is on top of this – make sure that you’re clear on what’s coming in, that it’s not sitting around in boxes waiting to be dealt with and that you have a clear system to process any items that are damaged or need attention.
- Keep up the maintenance. From equipment to buildings the warehouse environment can end up under a lot of pressure and this means wear and tear levels can be high. That’s why maintenance is essential, whether that is cleanliness or repairs. Maintenance issues tend to build up and escalate over time if they are not dealt with so a regular schedule is essential.
If now feels like the right time to undertake some reorganisation of your warehouse then these top tips are a great place to start.